Wednesday, February 10, 2010

White Bean and Winter Squash Soup

Since this terrible cold weather refuses to leave NC, I continue to crave hot, comforting foods that might do a little to ward off the winter blues (I'm not a huge fan of winter, if you couldn't tell). One of my favorite comfort foods is soup and this one definitely hits the spot. As an added bonus, it's super healthy and works as a complete meal, with some good bread for dunking of course. And did I mention it only takes about 30 minutes? Adding the cabbage at the end is up to you. I like the contrast of textures between the thick, creamy pureed soup and the slightly crisp cabbage. But the soup is definitely great without it as well. And if you do use the cabbage, save the rest for an easy stir fry (more on that soon). So try not to despair as the cold long overstays its welcome and consider it just a good reason to eat large quantities of piping hot soup.

White Bean and Winter Squash Soup:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans white beans (such as Great Northern)
  • 1 10 oz package frozen winter squash (usually a mix of butternut and acorn)
  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 head of cabbage (I used Savoy)
  • Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large soup pot.
Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic over medium-low heat till soft but without browning, about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans, add to pot.
Add enough stock to fully cover the beans and vegetables, more can be added later to achieve desired consistency.
Bring the soup up to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe dish with a small amount of water, cook the squash on high for about 5 minutes.
Add squash to simmering soup and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Add the thyme sprigs for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
When soup is cooked, take off the heat and remove the thyme sprigs.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender or, in batches, in a food processor. Be careful as the soup will be very hot. Puree to desired consistency, adding broth if needed.
At this point the soup is good to go with some salt and lots of black pepper.
OR you can add the cabbage, thinly sliced and washed.
Put the soup back on the heat and stir continually until the cabbage is wilted. Check the seasoning and enjoy!

For a printable recipe click here

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